Living in Manhattan on a journalist's salary comes with certain pros and cons. On the one hand, you get to live in Manhattan; on the other, your sliver of Manhattan is inordinately small, more closet than proper home, forcing extreme austerity in both budget and belongings. Personally, I live in a studio apartment with my girlfriend, which means an even stricter limit on any collection of souvenirs and collectibles. But that doesn't keep me from dreaming big.
One day, I'm going to live in a one-bedroom apartment and have disposable income! And then I'll be free to line bookshelves, window sills, and dressers with a grand assortment of ephemera that I'll swear is ironic but I actually really treasure. And a bulk of that exhibition, outside of my bittersweet collection of Mets memorabilia, will be related to Godzilla, the King of the Monsters and my lifelong friend.
I spend most of my time working, and to unwind, I more-than-occasionally turn to eBay (and a few other sites) to peruse Godzilla-related merchandise. All of the stuff I see at conventions winds up being super expensive, mostly because it's imported, and to be honest, I don't really need to collect more action figures or toys (though I welcome all gifts, so long as there's no conflict of interest). But the Toho monster franchise is over 60 years old, and in that time there have been some incredibly cool and incredibly weird licensed products and very unlicensed products made in the image of Godzilla and his friends.
I like to thumb through these items, less because I want to buy them (remember my restrictions) than because I like to see what used to pass as merchandise before the collector boom, and also because it's a nice reminder that not everything in our culture is so disposable. Here are some of the best and weirdest things I've found this week.
This Godzilla and Minya on a tricycle
A lot of people hated Minya, the "son" of Godzilla introduced in the late '60s, once the movies became explicitly targeted at children. Befitting his purpose, there is a lot of Minya merchandise out there now. I'm not sure just how big this tricycle would have to be in real life, but I actually really want this thing. Unfortunately, the seller is asking $254.99 for it, which seems like a bold price.
This six-foot-tall inflatable Godzilla
This will, in theory, be perfect for my one bedroom apartment. Unfortunately, at $300, purchasing the big guy will make it a lot harder to afford the rent on said apartment.
This 1998 Godzilla collectible coin
The 1998 American Godzilla reboot was a misfire, to say the least, and eBay is littered with collectibles that no one wanted to collect. I've seen a lot of Godzilla Hershey's Chocolate bars, but I really like this coin, because of the sly smile 'Zilla is making on it. And at $20, it's not a bad deal!
This gold Godzilla lighter
I do not smoke, but the prospect of flicking Godzilla's left arm to light my cig is almost enough to make me take up the habit. At $29, it wouldn't be a bad deal if a full flame came out of his mouth, but it seems like it's just a sparking lighter.
This Godzilla vs Mothra ash tray
More reason to pick up smoking. I appreciate that the Mothra here is red; most Mothra larvae toys just look like brown turds. Why they even make merchandise of the larvae is baffling to me, but that's beside the point. Anyway, for $90, I'd at least want to know why Godzilla has a red hat on.
This Godzilla and Galzilla Dr. Pepper poster
The 1986 Godzilla Dr. Pepper ad campaign is one of my favorite bits of Big G ephemera, in part because it's the one time Godzilla is seen in love. (I invented the name Galzilla and I'd like to copyright it, if anyone can help with that.) Not a bad deal at $40, since it's large (28" x 13") and seems to be in good condition.
This other Godzilla vs Mothra ashtray
Someone really wants me to start smoking. This is a much nicer ashtray — Mothra is too light to look like the conventional deuce — and at $90, if I was going to buy a Godzilla ashtray, it'd be this one.
This Ghidorah cosplay baby
This is cute at first, but then concerning — the baby doesn't look happy to be fused with King Ghidorah. I don't blame him; Ghidorah is Godzilla's biggest rival and the tool of evil aliens. But there's a 10-percent discount on it right now, knocking it down to $24.
This Godzilla sinking the Titanic blanket
This is funny, but also makes light of a horrible tragedy. What's the statute of limitations on that? Then again, Godzilla was originally used as a metaphor for the atomic bomb, his destruction mirroring the devastation delivered in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so maybe it's just par for the course. Get your funny yet morally questionable blanket for $46!
This set of monster books
This isn't actually weird. I really want this set of books. I used to take them out of my crappy elementary school library and read them cover to crumbling cover, and I often traced the monsters to learn how to draw them. There's a King Kong book missing from this set, but it's not bad for $40.